Posted by Armitage on 19 July 2019 with categories: Currently Watching:, Given

Contrary to the common belief, I feel that sunrises are far more prettier than sunsets. That’s because they represent a shimmering, sanguine new beginning. So, with that random fact about me out of the way, Hello Everyone! It’s your girl, Armitage. And today, we kick off and let the metaphorical sun rise on our coverage of the NoitaminA show of the season: Given.

As you all might be well aware, Fuji TV’s NoitaminA block airs series that are aimed towards a more mature audience. But over the last few years, the quality of NoitaminA shows did deteriorate quite drastically. That pattern seems to have changed of late with recent hits like The Promised Neverland and last year’s Star-Crossed AOTY, After the Rain. This season we have another promising new show with albeit a niche target audience but no lack for ambitions, Given. In the premiere, we were introduced to Uenoyama and Mafuyu, our central couple/pair of characters. Uenoyama had resigned to Mafuyu’s persistent demands and agreed to teach him guitar. He had introduced him to the supporting cast comprising of Haruki and Kaji. Let’s jump in to this week’s events!

Uenoyama has started teaching Mafuyu how to play the guitar on a pretty regular basis. So much so, that he skips out on hanging out with friends and actually takes time out especially for him. He starts off by teaching Mafuyu the intricacies of tuning a guitar. As someone who hasn’t touched the instrument, I could still relate to the passion he feels for it and music in general (I play the violin myself). The seriousness with which he handles it is reminiscent of a teacher trying his level best to help his academically weaker pupils ace an exam. He is meticulous and demands full attention (which he isn’t sure if Mafuyu is giving to him). Uenoyama even tells Mafuyu that if he intends to learn guitar to a professional level, then he might not be the most appropriate person to teach him. Although, I personally feel that if a teacher thinks that they aren’t capable of doing justice to the promise their student shows, and actually convey this to them, then the teacher might not be the best person for it, but they are definitely the most appropriate.

Uenoyama asks the other bandmates’ permission to have Mafuyu come and practice with them and they readily agree. So, next day, he takes Mafuyu along with him. He gives a brief intro about each of them along the way. Haruki, the long haired guy, is a grad student who studies video and Kaji, the one with the lip piercing is a second-year at the same college. When they arrive at the band’s jam room, Kaji still hasn’t arrived, so Haruki lets Mafuyu play some tunes. Though, he still doesn’t know even the C of guitar, so Uenoyama teaches him a basic riff. Mafuyu diligently does as told and voila! He’s Jimmy Hendrix. Or so he thinks, as like every other newbie, he plays that same riff to death. Kaji arrives soon but the two college boys immediately pop off for a quick smoke.

While cooly letting out some well-animated nicotine puffs, Haruki asks Kaji whether Uenoyama he changed over time? He came off as a bit narcissistic to him on first impression. But now that he knows him, he feels that Uenoyama is someone who actually cares a lot for people. Kaji says that to him, Uenoyama has always been that way. Moreover, Kaji feels that he is bound by a desire to protect people. But he doesn’t say that to Haruki. The quartet then tell Mafuyu that if he wants to join the club, he best be loaded with dough or pick up a part-time job. All of the others have some too. Haruki has what I consider to be my dream job. Working as a model at a hair stylist’s, who makes hair tutorial videos. While Kaji does what needs to be done to make ends meet. Bike deliveries, working as a waiter, security, you name it. But Mafuyu is unable to make up his mind. The next day, our main ‘pair’ are sitting at the stairs with Mafuyu’s head in the clouds again. Uenoyama asks what’s on his mind. In response to which, he sings the song he’s thinking of. And the rest, as they say, is history.

All in all, this was a great episode. I am still very optimistic about this show’s handling of the characters and their relationships. I especially appreciate the attention to detail and research put into even the minor things. Like the difference between a Fender & Gibson guitar and the workings of an amp. The sound design, like last episode is still pretty solid, though there wasn’t much to back it up this week. But I assure you, you won’t be left disappointed in that regard in the coming episodes. See you next week!

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